The ebb and flows of business are never ending. Especially, in our country’s current uncertainty. It is easy to get lost in the day to day grind to try and gain more success and money. However, none of the previously listed reasons are why I started this company. I started it to give myself a new purpose of something difficult to strive towards post military.
There are certain days throughout the year that hit me like a freight train. As time swells between my past military experiences and my life as an entrepreneur, some of the more painful memories I have of the friends I lost become dull and less piercing, but their memory is always present in my day-to-day thoughts and actions. We are going through a large business deal (for us) that has consumed a large portion of my time and thoughts on top of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Things have been a little stressful around here.
I closed my browser a few moments ago to reflect on how I wanted to move forward with some important decisions and saw this picture of Jeremy (SSG Jeremy A. Katzenberger, KIA 06/14/2011, Paktika province, Afghanistan).
It’s not an Instagram worthy picture and the news media likes to give me push back when I send this picture of us to go with a story they are writing, but it is my favorite picture of him and I. He was the closest thing I had to a brother growing up. In this picture, I was 20 years old about to leave for basic training and Jeremy was 25 about to leave for his 7th deployment. Jeremy and I had the chance to see each other just a few more times before he died doing what he loved.
I use this picture as my background on my computer because it reminds me of what matters in life. Jeremy and I had similar personalities. We both were goofy and loved to crack jokes, but Jeremy never seemed to get lost in the simple things people let consume them, myself included. Every time I look at this picture, I cannot help but think about what my life would like if he were still here. I like to spend some time in that thought pattern to make sure if he were still here, he would be proud of what I am doing.
It took me many mistakes and bad decisions to learn that suffering builds grit. I live my life not to mourn Jeremy’s loss but to live for his memory.
My thoughts are with the families of loved ones who are bearing the full weight of what this weekend stands for. The families I know are some of the most inspiring people I have ever met.